Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Truth of Today's Commercial Tactical Training

I am going to offer the audience an "Opinion Editorial" on the status of current tactical training found in the commercial arena, in the US today.
Much of my experience and success in the arena of horrific human violence was the result of learning about horrific human violence either first hand, or from people who lived in that realm.
Growing up as a young, poor dirt farmer in West Virginia, our firearms were necessary tools to supply us with much needed protein, beyond the livestock that gave us meat, milk, milk products and eggs.
In that same environment, I learned to use edged weapons as essential tools to provide us everything from firewood for the wood burning stove and furnace, to using hand scythes to mow grass and alfalfa on slopes too steep for our single, old hand-crank, started tractor and horses. We cut the corn stalks for shucks with 14 inch blunt nose "cane knives" my Uncle forged from old Studebaker leaf spring steel.
Knives were used to skin and butcher everything from game we stalked and killed, to our livestock. The hardest to skin were those damn old goats--literally. We, processed all of our own meat and never had the luxury of what hunters do today with sending their deer-kills to a processing plant.
I actually got pretty good at making buckskin and tanning hide with my Aunt Jinjin (Virginia was her name). This lady was pioneer stock. She made everything by hand, from soap to candles and cooked on a wood stove. She hauled water up the mountain every day from the spring. She had no running water or flush toilets, using an outhouse. She lived like this well into her 90s.
Learning to use firearms and blades were essential daily chores when I grew up. Learning to use them to kill the enemy was an easy transition, and demanded only a change in my mindset to close with, and kill the enemy.
Formally, I learned my wrestling, boxing and "fencing" beginning at the age of eight. My "coaches" were all former Marines of WW2 Pacific Theater, and from the US Army’s guerrilla action in the Philippines. They drilled the basics in me: those boring, ugly, hard-core, practical and logical basics in me, over and over and over again—nothing fancy and nothing tacticool. Training was simple, and extremely difficult: BASICS.
Ole Uncle Jo, for example, was a Filipino from Mindanao. He was of the Tausug people or the Moros. He fought and killed the Japanese, sometimes hand-to-hand, using his barung (correct Tausug spelling, by the way) to assist in the killing. He also knew his history well. Moros were all a literate, sophisticated peoples, able to read the Koran in Arabic when the rest of the Filipino people remained an illiterate, oral tradition.
He always laughed when he would hear how the Moros made the US Army switch to the semi-auto Government Model 1911 in .45ACP, from their 38's (revolvers) because the .38s didn't offer enough potency to stop them. This isn't why this changed happened.
Most of the US Army troops in the turn of the 19th century actually carried the DA .45 Colt revolver. The .45 Colt is a more potent caliber than the .38 Special or the .45 ACP. The trouble with the DA Revolver was, it was a bitch to reload, and shooting a moving lunatic with a blade, wanting your head, was hard to kill in just six shots. They needed something that offered a more SPEEDY reloading capacity. The 1911 provided that, along with a bigger hole than the .38 Special.
The 1911 wasn't ever issued to the troops during the Moro uprising in the Philippines 1898-1920. The Krag rifle was, though, chambered in .30-40, and was the first USA smokeless powder, "high" velocity rifle. The DA .45 Colt was the standard sidearm.
The trouble with all handgun ammo is that it is all weak. These rounds are all anemic. Soooooo, you need a lot of them, and a swift way to get more into an empty gun, especially under duress of being killed.
In all of my deployments in combat, or on the mean streets, I never assume, "Oh, I won't need that much ammo." Or, "I won't need another full mag!" It was (and is) always: "Damn is that going to be enough ammo? I don't think I am going to be able to carry any more, and still be able to maneuver." One can never have too much ammo, or load an empty gun in battle fast enough!
Today, in the martial arts and in tactical training, the basics are being left out because they are boring and boring and boring, again. There are no substitutes for the basics ever! People want flash and novelty. They want something that will make them feel good about themselves in the moment. To stay in business, trainers and instructors have to give the public what they want, even if it is NOT what will help these people prevail in a lethal force event.
Most trainees today, will never need these skills—but what happens when they really do need them? Hmmm! It really is better to have the skills and not need them, than it is to need them and have no familiarity with them under duress. We train a lifetime for that five second lethal force event from which we want to prevail--or not!
Every time I turn around, some tactical trainer and martial arts instructor, who have never experienced the elephant, are throwing away the basics and creating something new. They are always writing about how the old time basics are worthless. They proceed to write long drawn out, gobbly gook articles, justifying their new shiny way of doing something, or roll out a piece of equipment, designed to act as a substitute for that basic skill being ridiculed as “outdated.” The mind loves novelty and chases after it!
I keep close track of DoD's training protocols at the BCT and AIT and SpecOps work. They too are getting further and further away from the basics, relying on high tech methods and optics to improve marksmanship. WHY? Their readiness-deployment capabilities, currently are a freaking nightmare. Conventionally, at the ground level, we are no match for the Russians. We would have to rely on our high tech airforce, of which the Russians are developing simple technologies to counter that technical superiority with basic electromagnetic physics. BASICS RULE EVERY WHERE!
Learning the basics is HARD and PAINFUL, especially when the learner has no fundamental back ground in the subject matter. Mastering the basics takes a hell of a long time and energy expenditures. Don’t let anyone tell you that simple is easy. It is not. Mastery cannot be had in a single seminar. The brain/mind doesn’t learn that way.
DoD doesn't have the time or money to make sure soldiers and Marines master their ground-pounding, rifleman basics. Old time basics was what Basic Combat Training was all about! Most of those 8 to 12 weeks was spent “yomping” over Dix's incessant sand dunes, learning field craft and shooting and weapons' handling, with a little first aid thrown in. That has changed.
DoD now gives soldiers and Marines high tech substitutes, making shooting easier, which WORK until the substitutes fail—run out of batteries or the optics get blown off the gun. That's when Marines and soldiers die, unnecessarily, because they don't know the basics through and through--they are equipment dependent!
A big problem is that even when I was in the military, more and more recruits were from the city, and had no experience shooting, tracking or other field-craft skills. Oddly enough, those who were in the SpecOps community in Vietnam, were mostly the poor, dirt farmer kids from the South, who liked that environment and were intimately familiar with shooting, field craft and land navigation.
Now there is just no correct shooting experiences nor daily chores teaching field craft skills, at an early age. This means the military gets recruits who know only what they see from TV, on social media, and in the movies about guns, survival, tactics and warfare. THIS IS BAD INOCULATION that now must be unlearned.
Way back when, Dan Gable (world class wrestler) was always an inspiration for me in the world of wrestling. I loved wrestling. I was good. He was a few years older than me. I followed him during the Summer Olympics in 1972. Not a single opponent scored a point on this man. This is like pitching two back-to-back no hitters in baseball. Unbelievable mastery of wrestling's basics--especially on the mat.
I was a training NCO at Ft. Polk then. Dan did nothing unique but the basics. He was not even that good at takedowns. BUT he was a damn relentless eel with the basics on the mat. Once he got hold of you, he never let up. His fitness (basics) was what wore you down! His basics on the mat got the pin, and the basics allowed him to easily escape being pinned and controlled from an adversary.
Dan went on to coach University of IOWA wrestling to become one of the winningest sports' coaches ever. Why? BASICS!
UI doesn't do as well any more. Hell, wrestling has gotten away from the basics, and it doesn't even look like wrestling. The audience wants the flash. Funny thing is, when these kids wrestle an old school dude who knows, stance (position), level change, motion, penetration, backstep, arch and lift, these fancy wrestlers with their so-called fancy "funk" wrestling are shutdown and pinned. It is funny to watch.
Funk wrestling is simply the result of pisspoor basics: poor penetration and lift. Get the proper penetration and lift and the funk wrestler simply gets pinned or rode for points.
It is the same with shooting guns under the dire duress of being shot at. The basics are simple but very hard to learn well. It takes a lot of time and effort to master these basics, but it’s these basics that help the man or woman prevail in any kind of a rolling gunfight—not equipment.
Understand the weapon. It's a tube, with a chamber, attached to a triggering mechanism. All sights do are provide two points of reference (they are a mechanism--like the trigger) to make it easier to make sure the muzzle and breech are aligned to the target needing struck. This allows the bullet leaving that tube to impact what is aligned to the muzzle and breech. That's it. One doesn't need sights to establish muzzle breech alignment. Sights are a tool that makes the process easier.
The other basics of marksmanship pertain to how the human controls the tool. Grip is the intimate connection of holding the weapon. Without a human gripping the weapon, the rifle or pistol is an innate, worthless item. Not until the person with the proper mindset, picks up the weapon, does the weapon become a weapon.
With a rifle the human connection is the brain and the two hands on the weapon, both as far apart as possible. There is a solid check weld and a solid shoulder meld. We have four points of contact with a rifle. The pistol, even with two hands on it, has only one point of contact. It is better to get a 360 degree grip (both hands) on that one point of contact, than it is to get only a 180 degree hold (one hand).
We have already talked about sights. The body aligns this weapon to the target with a natural point of aim, and the eyes confirm both the target needing shot, and the muzzle breech alignment to that target. We hold a hard focus on the target, using peripheral vision to capture and confirm muzzle breech alignment. This alignment must be learned with a hard focus on the Alpha Hotels who want you dead. BASICS!
The mind allows the weapon to break the shot without disturbing this muzzle breech alignment. If the mind does not do this, the body anticipates the bang and compensates for that, disturbing the muzzle breech alignment. BASICS!
The intimate connection of the firing hand and trigger finger to trigger must bring the trigger straight back without disturbing muzzle breech alignment. The mind/brain does this consistently every single press—even when being shot at! That most intimate connection of the mind and one small finger pressing that trigger straight back, especially when someone is trying to kill you, is all about the consistency of just doing it. "STRAIGHT BACK, ARTHUR, RESET, AND KEEP SHOOTING UNTIL HE GOES DOWN!"
Control the press and let the gun go bang without moving or flinching. This is very hard to learn.
Fighting of any kind is about calmly driven and accurate basics guided by a determined mind who hates to lose. For example, I don't throw wild and crazy punches. I aim at his chin and deliver my accurate hard jabs and crosses and uppercuts and hooks until he goes down. My body aligns the shot, and my eyes confirm. It is the same in shooting accurately and swiftly. Basics!
I am shooting the bad guys. Bad guys dictate what I do--BASICS!!!!!  I don't know how bad the bad guys are, nor how many. I keep shooting the closest, single bad guy at a time, until he is done fighting me, and then scam and go to the next. I take care of one bad guy at a time, but do it very swiftly and smoothly, never rushing and never pushing. Calmly killing the M*&%ther F&%$kers. BASICS!!
People have always asked me, "How do you deal with multiple assailants?" "Like I deal with one at a time, but more swiftly!" One does have to keep moving and move in a way that gets the enemy to run interference with each other. Move and shoot. Move and shoot. BASICS.
Oh Shit! I am shooting the bad guys and I am out of ammo (slide lock/bolt lock/or click). I bring my tool to my work space, my eyes verify the gun's demands of me, as I keep peripheral vision on the enemy. Peripheral vision picks up movement faster than direct vision does, so I will see those bastards rushing me faster with my peripheral vision, anyway. My eyes confirm mag to mag-well and bam, insert and re-acquire the bad guys, confirm and shoot. BASICS.
F&%%#K, he's bumrushing me. Calmly get a new mag in the mag-well, confirm, bam, it is in and the gun aligns to drop the confirm F%$#Ker. Change position to better cover, if needed during this. Moving as you reload a new magazine is BASICS! I also want a barrier between me and all the bad guys that stop bullets. BASICS.
I never stay static. I am moving all of the time to cover, changing my position. A moving target is hard to hit. So I run between cover. Settle, force an exhale and shoot the bad guys. Move again away from the kill zone. OR if ambushed, charge the enemy, off of and out of the kill zone. BASICS!!!! Standing still in the open and shooting is just stupid. Change level—fire at the bad guy, then run to cover, changing out a new mag.
Keep shooting and changing positions to keep shooting the enemy better. BASICS! How do you move? Oh come on, right? Really? Run like hell to cover, exhale, relax and shoot. Repeat. Learn to reload while running your ass off to cover. BASICS!
If ambushed in the open, dive for cover. IF NOT AN OPTION: Change level and shoot toward the F%$#Ker shooting me--slide lock--get up and run hard to cover, changing out the magazine on the run. BASICS.
Firearms basics with self-loading tools mean we must know how to feed it when empty (especially on the run) and unload it when it needs to be empty—making it safe. We must know the 3 malfunctions and how to clear the 3 major malfunctions (failure to fire, eject and extract). We need to know how to grip the gun, know our human postures while shooting the gun in these postures, and know the most intimate connection to the gun--our finger on the trigger.
We must know our mind and how that controls it all (let recoil happen, positive self-talk to keep things deliberate and smooth when people want to kill you). We must know how to get and sustain muzzle breech alignment to the target (sights make it easier, but they are not necessary). The body aligns our weapon to the target and our eyes confirm—verifying that alignment.
These are not negotiable. If you do not know these basics you do not know your gun and will die in lethal force events when one of these things happen in that lethal force encounter and you haven't ingrained the essential familiarity of that basic action.

I am old school. I have been shot, stabbed, slashed and blown up. If my gun is empty and I get a hold of your charging body to kill me, I will beat you to death with that empty gun, and then pull my blade. I am old and ugly, simple and brutal. My ways are basic and more primitive than not. I am still here, and that is why! I teach the basics to mastery. So I guess I am boring, too!

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